John Mariani has called Ming Tsai “the foremost interpreter of East-West cuisine in America today,” and the appreciative diners at Blue Ginger, Ming’s celebrated restaurant in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and fans of his top-rated Food Network show, East Meets West with Ming Tsai, agree. Now, in his first cookbook, Ming shares the technique and philosophy behind his exciting cross-cultural fare.
The key, Ming explains, is retaining a healthy respect for the traditions of each cuisine so that diverse elements can be combined in a harmonious way. His trademark Foie Gras and Morel Shu Mai, for example, elevates a traditional yet simple Asian preparation with a luxuriously sophisticated Western ingredient and transforms a humble dish into truly elegant fare. Prosciutto and Asian Pear Maki is a playful reinterpretation of a Japanese favorite, while Classic Roast Chicken with Sticky Rice Stuffing gives the holiday staple a savory new spin. The result is food that’s inventive yet not trendy, complex in flavor but surprisingly easy to prepare.
In chapters devoted to Soups; Dim Sum (irresistible starters and bite-sized party fare); Rice and Noodles; Seafood; Birds; Meat; Sides; Oils, Dips and Seasonings; and Desserts, Ming proves again and again how delicious the coming together of East and West can be: Gingered Beef with Leeks and Asparagus, Hoisin-Marinated Chicken with Napa Slaw, Asian Gazpacho with Cilantro-Jicama Cream, and Wok-Flashed Salt and Pepper Shrimp are all quick and straightforward preparations that provide big flavors in every bite. And when it’s time to pull out all the stops, a chapter dedicated to Over-the-Top recipes will guide home cooks through an array of showstopping dishes that dazzle with innovative techniques and presentations. Beverage suggestions accompany each recipe to complete the dining experience.
Filled with Ming’s tips for working with unfamiliar ingredients and preparations, Blue Ginger is an outstanding introduction to the pleasures of East-West cooking.